All great cities are heavily influenced by certain movers and shakers. With a population of more than 800,000 and as the capital of the state of Paraiba, the Brazilian city of Joao Pessoa is no exception. Making a name for yourself in such a bustling place isn’t easy, but Roberto Santiago managed to do so at a very young age. If you are from Paraiba, you are almost certainly familiar with Santiago. He owns the Mangeira Shopping Mall and, more famously, the Manaira Shopping Mall. The question, however, is how did he do it? Read on to find out.
First, it helps to understand what an achievement the development of the Manaira Shopping Mall was. Despite the name, it is far more than a place to do a little shopping. There are nearly 300 shops and restaurants, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Atop the mall sits Domus Hall, which was built in 2009 and can accommodate upwards of 10,000 people for concerts and other events. Within the mall, you’ll find an 11-screen movie theater with stadium seating; a video game arcade with more than 200 machines; a sprawling food court; a bowling alley; a fitness center and even a college.
Knowing all of this about the mall, it’s even more impressive to consider how young Roberto Santiago was when he set about developing it. Given his background, however, it’s not too surprising. A native of Paraiba, Roberto Santiago was born in 1958. He excelled in school and earned a bachelor’s degree from Pio X Marist College and a degree in business administration from UNIPE, the University Center of Joao Pessoa. He started out his professional career at Cafe Santa Rosa before becoming an owner of a cardboard carton manufacturing firm. He then was able to acquire the prime piece of commercial real estate where Manaira Shopping Mall stands today.
Manaira Shopping Mall opened its doors in 1989, when Roberto Santiago was barely 30 years old. In the years since, Santiago has gone on to become well known for his philanthropy and for his dedication to improving the city of Joao Pessoa. Along the way, he has worked to continually improve his mall to ensure that it remains popular and relevant to succeeding generations. Although he’s already had a long career, he is still far from retiring. You can expect to hear a lot more about Roberto Santiago in the years to come.